Thursday, February 17, 2005

PBS facing troubles

The Thursday NY Times reports that newly appointed managers of PBS are pressuring the network due to what the perceive as its "liberal bias". The story quoted Tim Graham of the Media Research Center, "a conservative watchdog group", as saying, "Conservatives do not want to give more tax dollars to television stations that attack their ideas."

Worse, PBS plans on dismantling its analog TV broadcasting capabilities in order to switch to an all-digital, HD, cable/satellite-based system. The former public airwaves that it occupied will be auctioned off by the government to the tune of billions of dollars.

I'm highly offended by both of these points. First of all, PBS is a totally public-owned and public-supported system; the programming on it is protected by the First Ammendment and therefore, no government agent should have the ability to restrict or compromise its programming based on any perceived political bias. Conservatives have every right to push for the inclusion of programming on PBS that reflects their views, just as liberals have the same right. However, just because something like the Buster the Rabbit show has a lesbian couple on it, which could be offensive to some people, does not mean that it should not be included. The very idea that such an uproar as Bustergate occurred, proves that we live in a very dark era indeed.

Second of all, I am apalled that PBS would give up its rights to the public airwaves. With such a change, impoverished families that cannot afford cable/satellite TV will no longer get Sesame Street or any of the other educational programming PBS has to offer. It will clearly change the demographic to which PBS is available, to those who can afford expensive and frivolous TV bills every month. Of course, this change will even further change the support base that PBS enjoys, probably resulting with conservatives taking further control of the network.

Frankly I'm sick and tired of seeing every form of media in this country be affected by the conservative mentality. It's really disgusting. First, it was CNN changing its webpage to the red-white-and-blue color scheme after 9/11. Then it was Fox News becoming ultra-conservative to pander to that market. Of course there are some media outlets which have not bowed completely to the "Republican-ization" of everything, but even Jay Leno wears the stupid little "flag-pin" on his jacket.

Anyone that read flag etiquette books from the 1950s would know that the US flag should only fly free from the top of a pole, and it should never be fixed as a one-sided decal, unable to flap free in the breeze, forever locked in an artificial plastic pose. It should never be affixed to a vehicle or sports uniform as a static decal. It should only fly free, and not be used for partisan goals, but to represent the freedom from forced party participation that makes our nation what it is. I hate to see the flag become just another cog in the great polarizing machine the Republicans are forcing on our society.



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